St. John’s University, Queens Campus, Spring 2014

Section 15936: 9:05am – 10:30am Tue and Fri , Marillac 119A

Section 15937: 12:15pm – 1:40pm Tue and Fri, DAC 308

Dr. Matthew Lewis Sutton

Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology

Office: St. John’s University, Queens Campus, SJH B20–27

Student Hours: 1:45pm – 3:15pm Tue and Fri, or by appointment

718.990.5052 | suttonm[at]stjohns[dot]edu | | @doctorsutton

Your Course Website:

Undergraduate Bulletin: “Prerequisite: THE 1000C. The theology of the Christian community: its Scriptural warrants and history, issues such as: the role of the Church in salvation, the relation between the local and universal Church, Vatican II, ecumenism, authority. Credit: 3 semester hours.”

This course provides the student with a Christian theological encounter of the mystery of the Church with particular attention to the Church’s foundations in the Old and Testaments as well as the contemporary situation of the Church in the Postmodern Age. The student will see that, for Christians, the Church is the essential assembly where one encounters the God revealed in Jesus Christ and encounters each other as his people formed for him. The student will also see that this belief about the Church affects how Christians interpret the world, the human person, and culture. In addition, the student will be challenged to evaluate intellectually the future of the Church in the twenty-first century.

By the conclusion of the course, the student should be able:

  • to articulate (in writing and speaking) knowledge of Christian perspectives of the Church
  • to analyze critically scripture and other theological texts pertaining to the Church
  • to appreciate intellectually the biblical and early church documents foundational place within Christian faith’s understandings of the Church
  • to express the issues facing the Church in the postmodern age and appreciate the Church’s place within the developing cultures of the twenty-first century

Course Texts: Required:

  • Bible, must be an appropriate translation for academic work, such as the RSV, NRSV, NAB, NABre, NIV, NKJV. (recommended translation The Ignatius Bible (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition). Second Edition. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007. Paperback ISBN: 9780898708349 or Ebook Kindle. If you have questions, see me.
  • Gerhard Lohfink, Does God Need the Church?: Toward a Theology of the People of God, trans. Linda M. Maloney (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999). ISBN: 0814659284. Paperback.
  • John L. Allen, Jr., The Future Church: How Ten Trends Are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church (New York: Doubleday, 2009). ISBN: 9780385520393. Paperback, Hardcover, or Ebook Kindle or iBook.
  • Francis, The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium. New York: Pauline Books and Media, 2013. ISBN 9780819875051 Paperback, Ebook Kindle, or Online

Course Structure:

Three learning units structure the course. The first two units on the Old Testament and the New Testament will explore the foundations of the Christianity’s beliefs about the Church. The third will examine how these foundations are manifesting themselves in the twenty-first century. These three learning units will have assignments and assessments designed to give you an initial mastery of Christian understandings about the Church.

Learning Assessment:

In this course, you can earn a total of 100 points. You earn these points by successfully completing the following:

  • Class Participation: active engagement (questioning, answering, discussing) = 10 points or 10%
  • Encountering the Church Assignment Sheets (graded orally or handed in) = 23 points or 23%
  • Occasion of Joy Exams = 20 points or 20% (2 exams)
  • Occasion of Exploration Paper = 7 points or 7%
  • Occasion of Happiness Research Paper = 15 points or 15%
  • Occasion of Jubilation Final Cumulative Exam = 25 points or 25%

Progress reports will be emailed to you at the beginning of every month.

Grading Scale:

A = 100 – 93 points (100 – 93%) A- = 92 – 90 points (92 – 90 %) B+ = 89 – 87 points (89 – 87%) B = 86 – 83 points (86 – 83%) B- = 82 – 80 points (82 – 80%) C+ = 79 – 77 points (79 – 77%) C = 76 – 73 points (76 – 73%) C- = 72 – 70 points (72 – 70%) D+ = 69 – 67 points (69 – 67%) D = 66 – 60 points (66 – 60%) F = 59 – 0 points (59 – 0%)

We are at our best when:

  • We act with Academic Integrity, which means no plagiarism, no cheating, no damaging of other people’s work, and no assisting someone else’s dishonesty. Plagiarism is the act of appropriating and using the ideas, writings, or works of original expressions of another person as your own without giving credit to the person who created it. I will follow the university’s procedure for plagiarism and discipline to the highest extent allowable by this procedure, which can include an “F” for this course and the act of plagiarism noted in your academic file. Any further offenses entail suspension or expulsion.
  • We are Actively Engaged with each other. As a student, you must attend class regularly, attentively, and promptly with readings and assignments completed. As a professor, I must be available to you for encouraging and guiding you to excel in your education. St. John’s College mandates “Regular and prompt attendance is expected of all students and is an individual student’s responsibility. Absence from class does not excuse a student from any work missed. There is no penalty for absence from class considered in itself. Students are, however, responsible for all announced exams and for submitting all assignments given in class at the proper time. Ignorance of such exams and assignments is not an acceptable excuse for failure to complete them.”
  • You are responsible for everything said in class. You are responsible for getting class notes from another student. Only after you have received and read those notes can you contact me with further questions about the class.
  • We do not use any Digital Devices during class time such as cell phones, text messaging, mp3 players, or laptops unless the professor gives clear approval. If you do not follow this policy, you will not be able to earn participation points for the class meeting. If it continues to be a problem, your overall point total will be reduced according to the severity of your lack of engagement. ASK PERMISSION IF YOU NEED TO USE A LAPTOP FOR NOTE TAKING.
  • We turn in our Assignments and Papers promptly as directed by the professor. Even if you are absent, you are still responsible for turning in your assignments by the beginning of class or as directed. If your assignment is late, your grade for that assignment will be lowered at least by 10% for each day that it is late. Your grade will be lowered more the later the assignment.
  • We attend prepared for all Exams and the Final Cumulative Exam and these should not be missed. If you cannot make an exam, you must consult me in advance and receive clear approval from me. No make-up exams will be given unless you receive clear approval beforehand or as determined by me. Since the dates of the exams are clearly communicated to you, it is unlikely that you will receive approval.
  • We learn because we are human and we desire to know the truth about the divine, the world, and ourselves. We strive for Excellence without Excuses.